The Uniqueness of You

A Significant Day - Your Jewish BirthdayLaunch in Shvat, inaugural Event in Nissan

On Rosh Chodesh Shvat 5781, January 13, 2021, Rebbetzin Sara Gutnick, using the gardening theme of Shvat launched the new Jewish Birthday project in honour of her own milestone birthday with a talk entitled ‘The Uniqueness of You’.

‘‘The day that you were born is the day that Hashem decided that the world could not exist without you.”  Variations of this quote have been attributed to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, to R’ Nachman of Breslov and others, based on teachings from our Sages.

We understand this to mean that we each have our own capabilities – or let us call them ‘gardening tools’, to contribute to make this world a Garden for Hashem and to cultivate it, each adding our own signature splash of colour and fragrance to the harmony of the garden, beyond the capabilities of anyone else except for you.

Thus, your birthday is a day of celebration, not just for yourself, but for anyone who knows you, loves you, or appreciates you – a day of gratitude for the past and optimism for the future.

It is a lifetime task to try to figure out how to best cultivate the garden in your own unique style, but you are given plenty of clues – the family you were born into, your talents and capabilities and your life’s experiences.

Hashgacha Protis, Divine Providence, prods us in the right direction as King David says in Tehillim: (37:23) “The steps of man are directed by G‑d”. The Baal Shem Tov taught that everything you see or hear or experience, no matter how insignificant it may appear to you, teaches ’a derech in avodah’ how to conduct oneself.

It is quite a task to figure out when to feel confident in the way that it says in the Talmud, ‘bishvili nivrah ha’olam’ ‘for me the world was created’ or feel the humility of ‘ve’onochi ofor vo’efer’, ‘but I am dust and ashes’ as said by Avraham Avinu, Beresihis 18.27.  When an opportunity comes your way and you turn around and there is no one else but you to step in, then it is okay to feel that this moment was created for you to do your best and not feel, I am just dust, I cannot do it.  It is indeed a challenge to recognise the clues that are meant for you and seize the moment that has been orchestrated by Hashem for your benefit.

It is a balancing act, and we waver, this is natural, and we seek guidance, a mentor, a friend, a Rav, – we learn, we study, we grow, we nurture, and we seek peace.   When the clues come in the shape of challenges causing discomfort, to put it mildly, it takes time to look back and realise that this too is an important part of life’s journey and part of the development of inner resources accessible to you as a passionate gardener.

And so, just as we celebrate a Chag when it comes around every year, or Rosh Chodesh every month, drawing on its energy of freedom, joy, introspection, calm, unity or whatever it may be, we also draw on the mazal of our birthdays and re-align ourselves with our souls and recommit to fulfilling Torah and Mitzvos, re-assessing on how best to shine your inner light in the year ahead.

Sara and her new birthday committee comprising of Frances Gradman, Stera Gutnick and Ettie Spiegelman soon organised the inaugural event on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, with a lovely social event on Sunday morning, a Pre-Pesach brunch at Nogga on March 14.  Sara explained the RCWC to the newcomers and Ettie spoke about the Jewish Calendar and our special relationship with it.  We celebrated the Nissan birthdays of Dvora Lowin on the 7th, Frances Gradman on the 9th, Miriam Grossbaum and Denise Lebowitz on the 12th and Elina Kerbel on the 29th day of Nissan. Miriam spoke on behalf of all the birthday girls, saying in part: ’I usually do not celebrate my birthday as it’s 2 days before Pesach. I thus really appreciate this opportunity to celebrate my birthday. Nissan is the month of redemption. We are still in exile yet whenever we break through a barrier it is a redemptive experience. So too the opportunity to pay attention and celebrate my Nissan birthday with all of you today feels very special.’

We are very proud to invite you to celebrate your Jewish Birthday and indeed The Uniqueness of You at the RCWC.  If you would like to find out when your Jewish Birthday is click here.


For the latest Significant Day Events and all other RCWC and affiliate events see our Events Blog.

Read more

Connecting Through Candle Lighting

The Jewish woman: For light is her essence and to spread light is her mission.

Read more

Eshet Chayil

Generation to generation, gleaning wisdom and tradition from our mothers o.b.m.

Read more